Do I Need to File a Tax Return in Ontario?

Do I Need to File a Tax Return in Ontario?


 Do I need to file a tax return? Regardless of myths you may have heard, the short answer is yes, you do! Let’s look at why people of different circumstances should file their taxes annually.


1. Seniors

Many seniors are “low income” and pay no tax. They do receive several benefits which will stop if the annual tax return is not filed:

·  Guaranteed Income Supplement is a payment which increases the monthly Old Age Security. Service Canada uses the annual tax return to review the continued eligibility and amount of this supplement.

·  Ontario Senior h\Homeowner’s Property Tax Grant (OSHPTG) is a payment added to the Trillium benefit and is payable to lower income seniors who own a home.

·  Trillium Benefit -This benefit is payable to seniors whether or not they own a home. It is income tested. The lower your income the more you get.

·  GST Credit - If you do not file you do not get this.

· Caregiver Credit - This credit is for the caregiver not the senior but it is dependant on the senior’s income. If the senior does not file the caregiver cannot receive the credit.


2. Children

·  Children who work are required to report their income. If any tax or CPP have been deducted it is likely these will be refunded but not unless a return is filed.

·  When a child is 18 a return should be filed so that they commence to receive the GST credit as soon as they turn 19.


3. Students

·  Students at college and university must put their tuition receipt T2202 on their own tax return. An amount cannot be transferred to a parent unless this has been done.

·  Parents can claim a student’s medical expenses if they have filed a return.

·  Parents continue to claim a student as a dependant.

·  Students will only get the GST and Trillium benefits if they file.


4. Single parents

· Increased credits are available to single parents who care for a dependant child through the eligible dependant or equivalent to spouse credit.

· Increased child benefits are paid to low income single parents as well as GST and Trillium benefits.


5. Spouse with No Income

·  A spouse with no income can be available for pension income splitting with a spouse if they both file.

·  A partner with no income can have their “personal amount” tax credit transferred to their spouse.


6. Maternity and Parental Leave

Some parents decide to stay at home to rear their children. Perhaps they have no income except for the non-taxable child benefit. They can apply for EI for the maternity period but after, unless they have a home-based business (such as day care) there is no income. Why then should they file? Here are some reasons:

·  Transfer of their credit to their partner.

· Accurate calculation of the child benefit amount.

·  Potential receipt of GST or Trillium benefits.

·  Accurate recording for CPP of period not working for child rearing. CPP will be adjusted for this period so that Canada Pension is not unduly reduced.


There are many urban myths and much “conventional or received wisdom” surrounding tax matters. One of the worst is “you do not have to file”.


The CRA Wants to Know:


  • Where you are (current address)
  • What you are doing
  • What your status is (married/single/divorced/separated)
  •  What your employment status is



Filing an annual tax return is your way of complying with legal requirements.

Note: you are required to notify CRA of change of status and change of address.


You could be entitled to refunds and benefits you do not know about. The only way to get these is to file a return.


TAX TIP: Get in the habit of filing annually, always and On-Time!


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Until next time,